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Leadership Strategies in Managing a Budget Crisis
AdvisorMiltenberger, Patricia K.
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Presidents at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) were forced to cut their budgets by 20% each from 2007 through the start of the 2011 legislative session. State formula funding fell more than 10% during this same period. Nevada's economy was hit as hard as any state in the country and these two leaders braced for a second wave of cuts in 2011. The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) had to deal with a 4% enrollment increase while losing 9% of its state funded positions (NSHE, 2011c). The two university presidents argued against budget reductions in the state legislature saying higher education played a key role in workforce development and economic development. As the economic downturn was unfolding, UNLV produced a planning document that focused on education, infrastructure, and research to guide the critical decisions it would make to establish future priorities and deal with current budget reductions. UNR took a more straight-forward approach to the budget reductions, conducting a campus-wide curricular review of the program and budget eliminations and reductions. UNR focused on ensuring that it had protected its core programs and that the process was fair by giving key campus constituencies the opportunity to give feedback and the opportunity to defend their programs. The state budget reduction for NSHE since 2007 now stands at 25%.